My husband and I have a new saying about trying to plan trips for our family -- "This will be fun. In theory." Anyone with children, small children especially, know that kids have a special knack for knowing that you want something to turn out special, or create a family memory and they will do whatever they can to mess it up. Trying to plan a special photo session with your 3-month-old and your almost-3-year old to use for Christmas presents? You can be sure that your almost-3-year-old will pick that moment to have one last hurrah in in the terrible two's while you try to wrangle the infant and make them both cooperate without someone calling DFACS on the mom who's about to lose.it. in Sears (heh).
So it is with much trepidation that we plan our latest outing. As a last little trip before Bubba starts pre-K, we're taking my Dad's pop-up camper to Charleston, SC. My brother-in-law and his family have recently built a house in a small neighboring town and they have graciously offered to let us park our camper in their yard so that we can go to the beach and see the sights of Charleston. Now, Punkin' is almost 2 and Bubba is getting pretty close to 5. What's the problem, you say? Jeez, why's she so afraid, you ask? You see, this is not the first camping trip we've taken. And let's just say the first one was, well, it was fun. In theory. In actuality, not so much.
In October of 2006 my husband and I both had a week of vacation time. This was the first time in almost 10 years of marriage that we have both had a full week that we could take at the same time. Let's go camping, we said! In the mountains, we said! With the kids, we said! So, we pack up the camper and head off to Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwest Georgia. It's really beautiful...so they say. I don't know because I didn't get to see it. We arrive at the Park around 2:00 and found our campsite. The kids and I played on the playground while Mr. Daddy set up the camper. Around 4:00 we decide to head into town to the grocery store to stock up and where we spent over $100 on all the camping necessities -- hot dogs and marshmallows to roast over the campfire, chips, Little Debbie Fudge Rounds ('cause it just ain't a camping trip without them as far as I'm concerned), etc. So we head back to the campsite and eat our hot dogs, which we ended up cooking on the stove in the pop-up because do you KNOW how nerve wracking it is to try to cook hot dogs over an open flame and keep a 3 year old and 1 year old away from roasting their chubby little fingers as well?? Do you??
My kids go to bed early-- always have. So, it's Punkin's bed time. But guess what? She won't go to sleep. She keeps crying. And a fun fact about Punkin' -- when she cries a lot she throws up. Yay! That's so fun, let me tell you. So I can't just let her cry because I'm not cleaning up throw up out of a Pack n' Play out in the middle of the woods in the pitch dark. So, I decide to drive her down the mountain to get her to go to sleep. Which she does, finally. I ease her into the bed when we get back but in order to keep her asleep, I have to go to bed too. It's like 8:00. But what the heck, it's lookin' like a long trip so let's ALL get some rest. If only. Punkin' proceeded to wake up about every hour on the hour crying. Finally, at around 4:00 am, mostly in an effort to keep the other campers from forming a mob and driving us out, I get up and sit with her in my lap. I can't even cover up because every time I move she wakes up and starts crying. It's probably close to 40 degrees in the camper and I am not a girl who likes to be cold. If a girl in this situation wanted to shed a tear or two in self pity, who am I to pass judgement? When Mr. Daddy and Bubba woke around 6:00 I said "This is NOT how I want to spend my vacation. Let's go HOME." So, as soon as it was light, we packed up the camper and drove home. We were there less than 24 hours. I think I heard the other campers cheer as we pulled away. Needless to say, there are no pictures.
So, you can see why I'm a little nervous. We leave next Thursday. Say a little prayer.
5 years ago